Palestinians seek $3.8 billion in aid for Gaza

Gaza needs $3.8 billion in urgent aid to help rebuild Gaza following the devastating 50-day war with Israel this summer, say Palestinian officials.

Jason DeCrow/AP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivers a speech at Cooper Union, Monday, Sept. 22, 2014, in New York.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said Tuesday he has asked for $3.8 billion in urgent aid to help rebuild Gaza following its devastating 50-day war with Israel this summer.

Hamdallah told The Associated Press that Saudi Arabia has pledged $500 million and other nations have indicated they would join in. He spoke at the end of a donor meeting lead by Norway on the sidelines of a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

The aid request comes as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas Abbas is preparing to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council seeking a three-year timetable for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the West Bank.

Palestinian officials said the resolution will be handed in immediately after Abbas speaks at the UN General Assembly on Friday.

The recent Gaza war has weakened Abbas domestically, with Hamas enjoying a surge of popularity among Palestinians for fighting Israel. He is under pressure at home to come up with a new political strategy after his repeated but failed attempts to establish a Palestinian state through US-mediated negotiations with Israel.

Abbas was meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry later Tuesday and express little optimism the resolution would survive a Security Council vote. The United States will almost certainly veto such a measure, having said the only resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through direct negotiations between the two sides.

A day earlier, Abbas said a UN rejection of the resolution would prompt him to seek membership in international institutions and agencies. Aides said that would include the International Criminal Court, opening the door to war crimes charges against Israel for its military actions in Gaza and Jewish settlement construction on West Bank land the Palestinians want for a future state..

Abbas adviser Nabil Abu Rdeneh has said the Palestinian leader would present a new strategy his UN speech. In recent weeks, Abbas and his aides have hinted at the outlines.

Under the plan, Abbas would ask the UN Security Council to issue a binding resolution, with a specific date for ending Israel's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem. Captured by Israel in 1967, the territories were recognized by the UN General Assembly in 2012 as making up a state of Palestine.

The US has urged Abbas not to turn to the Security Council, but has not offered an alternative, said a Palestinian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss internal deliberations with the media. Abbas will use meetings on the sidelines of the General Assembly to gauge international support for his plan, said the official.

"This week I will propose to the United Nations a new timetable for peace talks. The key is to agree on a map to delineate the borders of each country," Abbas said.

He said he is frustrated with the Israeli government, accusing it of expanding settlements on Palestinian land rather than making peace.

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